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TheKodu's blog

9:33 PM on 07.09.2015

Is it Censorship

"Censorship can only be done by the government removing your free speech"

This is a common argument I hear every time someone is accused of pushing for censorship.

According to the  ICCPR ( International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) Article 19 (you know that big thing called the EU Humans Rights court).

"[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

At no point does it say the government is the only one who can restrict it.

In 1971 a little film was released called A Clockwork Orange. At that time a large pressure group led by a Mrs Mary Whitehouse was in full force trying to rid the "Smut" off TV be it removing sex and or violence being shown. In 1972 a prosecutor, in a case of a 14 year old boy who'd killed a classmate, chose to claim the film had a large amount of relevance to the case. The film was also referenced in a case of a 16 year old who'd killed a vagrant (The boy in question having heard of but never seen the film in question). The Defence QC claimed the film itself was the reason for the boys actions as part of the defence case. The press took it upon themselves to additionally relate the film to a rape case. Incensed at the "Potential harm to society" the film could do many of the NVLA and associates of it started a campaign to get it banned. Stanley Kubrick (the films director) and his family suddenly found themselves facing a number of death threats stating his wife and child would be murdered unless he withdrew the film and the family faced protesters constantly outside the family home. Kubrick fearing for his family's life asked the studio to withdraw the film, he later released a statement.

"To try and fasten any responsibility on art as the cause of life seems to me to put the case the wrong way around. Art consists of reshaping life, but it does not create life, nor cause life. Furthermore, to attribute powerful suggestive qualities to a film is at odds with the scientifically accepted view that, even after deep hypnosis in a posthypnotic state, people cannot be made to do things which are at odds with their natures."

For 27 years A Clockwork Orange wasn't seen or heard of in the UK other than fleeting clips on TV shows. Upon Stanley Kubrick's death in 1999 the film was re-released to cinemas. In 2001 it was finally released in the UK on DVD to own.

Would you say the film being pulled and not shown was an act of censorship ?

I would. I'd say it was self censorship, however the reason for it was clearly pressure from the baying mob and those who thought they were somehow helping society by making such threats. It was people pushing for censorship and pushing for people to censor things.


That's just some of what Joss Whedon received prior to leaving Twitter. It seems recently there's been a lot of this going round. A thoroughly modern witch hunt by certain people against anyone who is seen to commit "Wrong think" or do something that could in any way be perceived as harmful for society. As in not pushing a hyper progressive near tokenist / exploitative stance.

We've seen it a lot recently with the amount of Polygon pieces about the game Hatred with them even going so far as to try and claim the developer was a Neo-nazi.

You know what a powerful tool for controlling people in this world is and is the big secret of much of advertising ?


It's not the only way for sure however it's a very effective one. Fear of facing the threats and fear of being ostracised.

Another such way would be, oh I don't know having multiple places all put out the same or a similar articles all inspired by the same piece of Digra research. All done in the attempt to push the idea that people's views don't fit the majority and should therefore change . But no-one would be that dumb I'm sure right.



For those who don't know about DiGRA well it's a multi disciplinary international research association whose work focuses on digital games and associated activities. The big thing that seems to cause a problem for them is being multi disciplinary they're not really subjecting their members to quite the stringent level of examination as you'd find as standard in most science field. In fact DiGRA have their own peer review group and at one of their meeting discussed how they could avoid standard peer review systems.  For those who want to know more about some of DiGRA's antics here's a video for you.

 Here's the thing. Many people hiding behind the claim "Oh it's just criticism" don't seem to realise that criticism is more than just labelling something as Racist, Sexist, Transphobic etc etc. You know what you're labelling people and products as inherently bad things. You're using deliberately hyperbolic statements in an attempt to create a fear based reaction with someone not wanting to be considered that and as such immediately changing fearing ostracism.

Fuck you, you fucking piece of shit for doing [insert micro aggression here] go kill yourself or I will, you otherkin-ist.

Sure that may be criticism but it's not useful or good criticism it's not pushing the industry to change via reasoned arguments it's trying to change it via social manipulation and pushing for a form of self imposed censorship through fear. Hell to an extent claiming portrayals are offensive to you is attempting to use a developers possible empathy to make them feel bad and feel they should change something. Playing on empathy itself has been used a lot recently by charities trying to raise money, it's one of the reasons the Kony2012 video spread so fast and so wide. Heck such charity tactics have come under fire recently in the UK.

So when you claim "Only the government can censor things" It's not strictly true. We've seen people attempting to push for others to be fired for merely disagreeing with what some people has said.

Are you really trying to tell me that somehow everything is different this time and there's nothing similar to the old NVLA we had here in the UK ?


The show she was talking about.... Dr Who.

My take on this is if people realise they're pushing for censorship or not you can be sure censorship is regularly the end result on this even if it's self censorship to avoid further hassle from the creator. If your criticism is throwing a label on it and then not explainning the reasoing or discussing deeper then what use are you as a critic ?


10:09 PM on 07.01.2015

"Buy 'Better games' You B*****ds"


"We just want games to be better" This is a very common cry I've been hearing recently and it's becoming more and more apparent. It turned up in the Song about how people like Anita and her followers are not like Jack Thompson.


"We want them to be better, we don't want them to stay the same" It seems very nice the rest of the song about how games should co-exist etc etc and then I got to thinking "better games" you want games to be "better". How strange I didn't even know video games were ill.

Ok "better games" that's rather an objective statement. Well I asked myself what does it appear they consider "better games" and I took a look at Feminist Frequencies Twitter and found this.


Hhhhhhmmmmm not entirely conclusive I think you'll agree but then I stumbled into this article in the International Buisness Times. It's a very clear cut piece essentially saying "Some games should be considered art and others not". IBT makes particular emphasis on Lamenting the closure of Tales of Tales despite its heavy Advertising campign for Sunset (Done through the PR company Leigh Alexander helps run, yes that games journalist who has her own PR consultancy for video games). The article points out how it was only £15 and yet didn't sell. The problem is it was a £15 indie game with a narrative focus and according to HowLongToBeat it's 3 1/2 hours long. During the Steam sale I did buy a game by Tale of Tales, I bought The Path for about £2 on sale instead of its normal £7.

Much of the complaint in the IBT article seems to be about how people rejected games like Gone Home and Dear Esther. So I decided to write a short 50 page book for you guys here at Destructoid. No really go enjoy it, the things free.

 You see just as my book clearly doesn't use all the tools available to it, many games being held up as art games tend not to use all their tools either. They're mostly a fairly linear narrative with little to no interaction or gameplay. Video games have available to them both narrative and game yet many seem to want to simply be slightly more interactive books, where the book every now and again asks you to click a thing to continue. No additional thought needed. No gameplay elements or challenge presented. The IBT article is again seemingly laying the blame for failure at the feet of the audience going "Why didn't you support this you horrible uncouth uncivilised people?" I've said it before in relation to this but peoples' "art" is not entitled to my money.

What's all the more insane is in the name of progress and "better games" people are trying to guilt or even shame people for refusing to support them. I mean who wouldn't want "better games" right except the true question is better from whose perspective? Better games than we had previously? Some-how "superior games" dare I say? Why are they somehow "better games" and not merely different games?

 Continuing on with the IBT article it talks about how Fullbright are still in business, how The Chinese Room are still going and how Lucas Pope (Developer of Papers Please) isn't shutting down. The claim being that these developers are somehow proof people want there "better games" so let's look at that argument. Lucas Pope made Papers Please a game with multiple narratives present but also the challenge aspects of having to worth through the paperwork, it's quite different from being a purely narrative driven experience. Then we have The Chinese Room who made Dear Esther and while people bought that mostly to show on youtube how crap it was. What probably made The Chinease Room more money was them making a sequel to the well renowned horror game Amnesia. While panned as being a less game than Amnesia I dare say The Chinease Room still found it sold pretty well. The final one being Fullbright, Fullbright made Gone Home and I'd suggest part of its success comes from not desire for the product but from what the product seemed to be which initially was a "youtube bait" horror game where you find the house empty. Also in part due to a review written by a friend of the developer and  former member of the development group before it made Gone Home and became the Fullbright everyone recognises today. The next game by Fullbright seems to be following almost the same style but putting out the image of it being a sc-fi horror game not an earth based on. It will be interesting to see if it actually is or if it's another switcher roo.

 The article does point out people are not obliged to support certain properties but seemingly blaming the audience and saying "  Sunset died because, basically, most people who buy and play games do not want art." The same kind of argument could be levelled at many films and books. For example The Dresden Files series are most definitely not something I would call great literature, it's an enjoyable ride and bit of fun escapism but that's it. However I'd still say The Dresden Files are art, hell I'd even say a film like The Human Centipede counts as art. Look if We're letting Damien Hurt's output be called Art or a statue of a female riot officer pissing on the floor, complete with synthetic urine puddle, then I see no reason to exclude even the worst game from being called Art.


And yes that statue is on display in art galleries complete with a puddle of synthetic urine.

The IBT article seems to think that art means you must talk about social issues or do something beyond entertain. So can someone out there please tell me what social issue this picture below is commenting on ? (Answers in the comments please)

 The IBT article places the blame on the audience and claims people in the audience are to blame for refusing to try something different. You know not the press for entirely failing to cover the game or on the developers themselves in part to make it easier and less of a risk for people to try something new. Sorry but £15 for 3 1/2 hours is a joke at £10 it would have to be the best damn 3 1/2 hours of game I've ever played if there's no replayability or I'd be rather unhappy. I'm more than willing to try something new at the right price point. Hell I've spent some of my time talking about smaller developers and games that people don't normally experience and hopefully convince some people of some games worth trying.

 The claim that some games should be art and considered art, to some is not so much anymore about the medium but merely about separating regular games from the games they want to call art. Then using the new "Art games" to try and do what so many other arts allow. To gain art funding. It's not so much about funding artists as much as funding "The right people" funding people that share the ideology and values of those pushing for this separation or so it seems. It's less about funding great art and more seemingly about funding people, almost back to the old claims of "Jobs of the boys". As studios making certain content aren't finding an audience to sustain them seemingly. It's an old trick and I know some people will no doubt be dubious that people would be able to take advantage of art grants or benefits etc but Uwe Boll was one of the biggest signs of people doing this. Until recently the German government allowed people tax breaks for giving to people in the arts, one of the directors who saw a lot o this funding was Uwe Boll. With changes to German tax laws however it's means Uwe Boll no longer gets to see this kind of funding, hence him turning to kickstarter etc to try and fund some of his more recent abominations.


The whole reason I started doing the critical floor articles initially was to show just how much art is present in other games and not the traditional "art games" held up as some great high brow culture which if you hate you clearly don't get it. The thing is those who claim gamers "Just don't get it" seemingly just don't get media literacy and the art elements in standard games.

 If this were just one article in the IBT I'd say ok maybe one editor said some stupid things. Yet a very similar article also appeared on Tech Crunch and in that article they chose to criticise Steams refund policies, because if someone makes a barely 1 hour long weird interactive concept and sells it people can easily finish and refund it. The idea that some-how the experimental space will be damaged because shock horror people can't get paid from it by selling it as a standard product. Well I and many others in the C-Blogs are not paid does that mean everything here is terrible and not sustained? The are plenty of different funding options available now for developers who want to make their 15 second long "Super deep" experimental games. It's amazing to see people blaming gamers for not buying these titles. In seemingly no other medium are people shamed so much for spending their money how they want (Of course the whole Selma vs American Sniper thing not withstanding). We're not seeing a mass of film critics lamenting the success of Guardians of the Galaxy or Mad Max because people saw that instead of [insert one of the cannes 15 minute films shot on a mobile phone here].

How about this. Rather than lamenting the percived "Loss the the medium" when some pretientious art piece bombs and blaming the audience people look for the art in exsting games? You know without some grand PR drive about how the game is oh so mature and deep. That's just my 1,500+ words on it though. 


5:04 PM on 06.25.2015

For the good of Humanity we should blow up Rome's Coliseum


What it was either E3 related guff or laughing at idiots this week. Guess which I chose?

 so some rather well paid individual has been extolling about how violence is bad and Doom showing such levels of violence is a problem Oh and this time it's not Jack Thompson I mean this time they made a PSA kids cartoon esc song saying just that so it must be true.


So doom, a gloriously over the top FPS game which is quite on par with the idea of many gore films has some people up in arms again. Now from what I can gather it's because apparently violence is actually an artificial thing in our society a true sign of how damaging the patriarchy is to the world by perpetrating totally un-natural violence. To which my answer can only realistically be this.


What poor giraffes they must have learned their violent behaviour from being so exposed to our culture for so long and learning it from us.


Yep even other animals have clearly been learning these violent behaviours from our human media and society [Sarcasm mode deactivated]. That's the thing though it seems that the old right have returned in force with their claims that video games cause violence just with a new face. Now I've said my piece on this before. In fact I've said it twice. The claims haven't changed much either from those against violent games. The claim is that, just like comics before them, video games are a unique medium thus somehow things are different.

It's comical. The constant claims that somehow any depiction of violence is making our society worse and making people desensitised so should be condemned. Yet Rome has one of the largest symbols to violence as one of its main tourist attraction. I talk of course about the coliseum, home to the gladiator fights. Now when we look back on the Romans do we see some horrific uncivilised mob or people who helped significantly advance the world? If we're to go with the claim that anything violent or that is a reminder of violence used as entertainment is wrong then surely it should be blown up and demolished right. In the case of the coliseum it was actual violence done to actual people for entertainment.

 Now people might claim "Oh but it's a special case with the coliseum it was far more brutal" to which I now have to say that research at present is suggesting it wasn't. There's a lot of evidence suggesting that Roman gladiators shared much with present day wrestling. Sure there were deaths in the coliseum but actual matches to the death were apparently quite rare. I mean you can't have every fight be a death match or you'd run out of trained gladiators pretty quickly. It's even suggested many matches were rigged with the winner pre-determined in an attempt to create crowd favourites to watch and draw bigger audiences. There's even talk of gladiator training teaching people how to hit and cut one another in such a way to make the injury easily healable and nothing serious to allow trained Gladiators to have the minimum of recovery time before coming back on. Even suggestions that in matches with wild animals lions were often declawed. It seems quite funny today that WWE exists, the coliseum exists both being real people simulating violence for peoples enjoyment. We have Boxing seeing a resurgence and brutal MMA fighting being a thing now. Yet it's the digital coliseum that's the problem?


Boxing itself is thought to have been established in part due to the popularity of bare knuckle brawling matches often popular with the upper classes (and they were illegal). we're in an age where everyone is claiming violence is corrupting people. I'm going to tell you a little story about my brief time as a Teacher. Some of the best students in class, best behaved and best ability wise I heard some of what they were into. The one girl who I'd consider the smartest in the class played GTA V online and watched Game of Thrones regularly. One of the guys in the class who was quiet, well behaved and did amazingly well (almost as well as the previously mentioned girl) he played GTA V Online and Mortal Kombat these were 14- 15 year olds in the class. I found out one of the other girls in the class who again caused no trouble and was doing well, she was a big fan of the series Supernatural. Some of the worst in the class you might ask, two Male Football mad boys and two girls who loved Bratz dolls. Yes this is only anecdotal evidence. However with previous evidence showing violent game sales vs the rate of violent crimes it's becoming a bit more of a solid case. Again correlation doesn't equal causation but surely having a healthy outlet where no-one but digital figures gets hurt would be better outlet than someone wanting to take out their anger on the pitch, the court or somewhere else against other human beings. I think Penn and Teller put this quite well.


So if the Roman society can make some great advances and thinkers in its time, the idea of violence being part of society is quite something to remember as at least for the Roman's it didn't suddenly destroy the whole of society. It's not as though media itself hasn't explored the idea of utopian societies with the film Rollerball showing how even in a world without war there will still always be something violent. Demolition Man shows that when the world is a "safe space" free of naughty words and violence then it's very easy for people to take advantage of and the truth is finding a balance between freedom and complete safe spaces.

 So a few more stories on this for you that have happened in the past few months now. So we have this recent bit of news coming in from the UK that if kids in primary school talk about playing violent games, the school will report their parent's to the police. Not Films, not books, no video games and just video games because video games are somehow now a special case. Just like comic books were a special case before them.

 Now I hope you'll all go and read Jonathan Holmes piece about his experiences with violent media as a child as he expertly outlines how all this talk about games being dangerous to society is total nonsense. Now do I think it's right for kids to be playing content far beyond their intended age? No I really don't, sure I can understand a 16 year old on an 18 game. Here in the UK we have both PEGI and BBFC ratings systems either of which can appear and both of which give a clear numerical suggested age.

Oh but the outrage doesn't end there, you see we've also had a police commissioner call for an adult only rating for video games. I mean if only there were such a symbol in use which specifically showed only someone legally considered an adult could buy a game..............

Here's the thing, here in the UK most stores are very strict with sales of restricted goods. I've seen on occasion people working in games stores even speak with people they suspected of being parents sent to buy games by kids. The staff explain the content of the game and the age rating system. I've been to conventions and now at over 20 (quite a bit past it) I'm still having to show ID despite having grown a beard and moustache. the idea that somehow and AO rating alone will stop 18 rated games getting into the hands of kids is a joke. We've had the BBFC classification system for years on films and media. The UK does have an AO rating. AO ratings are reserved at present almost exclusvely for one Kind of media... Porn. So the way things are going it looks like I'll be going to my local sex shop to buy games in future if certain groups get their way, carrying my copy of Doom home in a black paper bag.


2:48 PM on 06.22.2015

Goodbye Freelance Games

So while everyone is mourning the loss of a certain indie darling games studio in the media recently I thought I'd take the opportunity to say farewell to an indie studio as well. Freelance Games. For those who don't know who Freelance Games are they're a one man indie studio who at this stage I think it's fair to say they've gone. The official website vanished last year and the official twitter (and devs own twitter) have been dead since December 24th.

Now you might wonder why I'm doing this ?

Well some developers go out with a giant fart


Some go out with one last fuck you


Freelance games did neither. It vanished into the night without a word. So rather than showcase some developer throwing a tantrum (as many in the media are choosing to) I'd rather showcase a developer who tried and while they didn't manage to keep going, they bowed out without a word.

Freelance games have made a number of titles their first being an OK space game on the XBLIG marketplace called Starchon, it was nice an worth the money but I wouldn't say it was groundbreaking. Then again as a first title it didn't need to be. Their main hit (and I'd say best product) was the Trailer Park King series. XBLIG is infamous for games with busty women being abundant, sex sells and XBLIG was proof that sex can even help you sell some real shit. However unlike most of the others Trailer Park King actually managed to find a theme and setting that worked. The game was closer to being a point and click, with later entries having mini games, rather than anything else yet it managed to work with the theme. Rather than coming off as smut the series came off as being closer to a teen movie such as American Pie or Dude Where's My Car. Freelance Games did branch out later with its attempt and another couple of series, firstly being Cherry Poke Prison, which was passable but nothing special. Then came Derp of Duty...... which I can best describe as a bad porn film, just without the benefit of having actual porn. Derp of Duty slumped into being almost sleaze. After that and the slow death of the XBLIG Freelance Games opted to try the Mobile market and honestly I'd say this may have been part of their downfall and shows just how hard it is to survive the mobile market. Even after the surviving the XBLIG marketplace the mobile market seemingly finished Freelance Games off. It's last three games were basic games, two being adaptations of mini games from its full titles and  the last being a game called Big Head Flyers which as a Flappy Bird styled game.


Possibly more worthy of note being the work done by Freelance Games to speak out for developers. As many people may remember FreeLance Games was the one of the main developers that spoke up about Microsofts failure to pay indie developers last year. He was also one of the first to speak up previously when such an issue began and even started a petition to try and raise awareness and convince MS about how many developers were losing patience with the delays.

 So where ever Sean Doherty the lead developer of Freelance Games is now. I wish him all the best in whatever career he's ended up in. Goodbye Freelance Games

For those who want to check out the games still all but Starchon and Cherry Poke Prison were ported to Android with free trial versions or full paid versions (Also on IOS too)


10:21 PM on 06.19.2015

E3 Nit Picking

Ok I think it's fair to say E3 was good this year, E3 was in fact very good this year. Now there's one of a number of ways I could go with the whole post E3 conferences blog. One being to simple recap and woop. The other being to be cynical. I've decided to do neither really and just nit pick at a load of stuff that really didn't work for me or stood out.

Ok let's start with my biggest nit picks and they come from a game I'm still too hyped for. Horizon: Zero Dawn.


So nit pick number 1: why the hell are you hunting robots ? I don't get it. In what's meant to be a kind of post apocalyptic society and hunter gathers why are people hunting robots in what possible way can they help you survive and you know actually eat?

 Nit Pick number 2 is a very specific one from having been an archery instructor.

I can get past what appear to be carbon fibre arrows.

I can get past what seem to be plastic arrow knocks being used.

I can get past a crossbow being used

But what the hell is what that bow? I'm not even joking the best guess I have is that it's a compound bow which have a sort of winch system on them. The problem being while accurate due to reducing the bow tension when drawn they're terrible for a hunter gatherer lifestyle. The damn things are hard to make and if the string breaks or one of the wheel parts comes off you're screwed. Sometimes before archery sessions I'd have to change strings on the bows at the site I was at. I could change a string in about 5 minutes on a recurve bow. According to the Archery coach (as in this guy is a national level professional coach) if a string breaks on a compound bow you're better off taking it to a proper archery supplies shop for them to fix it. So for a hunter gatherer society it makes zero sense they'd firstly be able to even produce bows like that and secondly that they'd hunt with them when they'd not be able to fix it while out and about. With a recurve bow you can literally whip the string off with no extra tools and place a new one on.

 See and you thought I was joking about quite how much nit picking I was planning to do.

 Next was Microsoft backwards compatibility.


The big nit pick here being in the wording used. Microsoft basically said all games in theory could be backwards compatible if the developers / publishers enable it to be. That is the problem. I don't trust EA as far as I could throw their head office I equally don't trust many other publishers who faced with the choice of selling you their new HD remake and enabling you to play the previous game, well let's be honest they're going to pick the money. Also this goes further as Microsoft said any of the last generations digital Xbox 360 games you own could be converted over too. It's a shame that to a degree that was actually a lie, or at least so far is likely to not be entirely honest. You see Microsoft probably won't be letting people port over their Xbox Live Indie Games (you know that thing I started out covering almost exclusively) the XNA creators club was abandoned and I really can't see Microsoft trying to figure out how to port XBLIG games onto the Xbox One. Don't get me wrong it would be nice to see with games such as DLC quest, Bleed, Survivalist and many others make it onto the  console in this next generation but it's probably not going to happen. Oh and what happens with developers who have since gone out of buisness like Frontlines Fuel of War or titles like Deadpool where the rights changed hands. Or Too Human (quite why you'd be playing it who knows) where copies were collected back in and sale of the game stopped.

 The Last Guardian.


Ok I'm probabaly going to get crap for this but it looked like the version shown was an in development version waiting for the high res textures to be added in places, at east on the stream I watched it on. If you look at the boy character and the bird dog then the rest of the environment it just seemed like an aesthetic clash with a sort of cartoony blended pastel colour dog and child running through what seemed to be a quite HD backdround and scenery. To me at least it felt like what we were seeing was temporary texture which were meant to be replaced with higher quality ones. I know ICO and Shadow of the Colossus did that washed out colour look but that seemed to also be all the games aesthetics not just the characters but the world too.


Ok I missed something along the way with this one. I must have done. It looked ok but when everyone was on about how good it looked and how the dog became a giant robot I couldn't help but look at it and go "Haven't we already seen this before or at least something close to it?"




Ok seriously. As much as I rag on Gone Home I looked at Tacoma and I couldn't help but see some of the same almost build up and ideas in play. The seemingly abandoned space station. The crew member memory hologram things about and the whole bit about opening the door at the end of the trailer. It already feels like a similar bait and switch. Playing on people's expectations for a space horror game and when that door opens and the whole crew yell Happy Birthday I know I'm going to be hating how predictable it almost seems to pull the same kind of trick twice. Who knows the rest of the game might actually then just be seriously mundane.

 Sony's show reel

 Ok a lot of people have been on about how most of Sony's conference was stuff not being released this year and I have to agree. Worse still was that in the press conference intro clips they actually showed two games coming out this year and never talked about them. They showed Journey which is being re-mastered and expected about September and also Mad Max the game which is also meant to be out September sort of time. I really don't get why they put those games in the show reel and then didn't have them as part of the show at some point. They're not the only games though as Sony showed in their showreel what appears to be the PC game The Forrest and upcoming PS4 console exclusive Drawn to Death. Have a Look at some of what was in that Showreel and not seen on stage.


Drawn to Death

The Forrest (??)


Super Time Force

A New Resistance game ?


So anyone else have some moments from E3 this year that just really annoyed them when it was a tiny little thing that seemed off (and not EA dragging a football legend on for 10 minutes of story time) Or Ubisoft and the ricchets chat up line.


4:39 PM on 06.18.2015

Who says #Gamergate has done nothing ?

So this is a reply blog. It's not my normal kind of blog. It's not the kind of blog I wanted to be writing. I wanted to write a blog nitpicking about E3 and both nit picking and slobbering over Horizon Zero Dawn. What I get to do instead is fill in some holes that have shown up. 

This isn't some self agrandising thing about all the good and charity donations #Gamergate has done or the Society of professional journalists debates or new FTC guidelens. This is very simple, very narrowly focused.

So recently at E3 a number of posters have turned up claiming to be from #Gamergate. There were plenty of people condemning the move (both in gamergate and against it) yet most of those against it simple automatically threw the blame at Gamergate.

Well credit goes to a #Gamergate account by the twitter handle @Nuckable for finding out that the posters were actually not the work of any-one in #Gamergate as such but a group of street artists who do highly republican far right orientated street art.

You can see @nuckable's Tweet here

Here's the collection of pictures so far that they've made 

Now I know what I'm going to get in the comments here "Oh but Gamergate would have done it" Or "yeh but members of Gamergate are scum."

So It's worth pointing out that thanks to people working together in #Gamergate someone sending death threats to Anita Sarkeesian was actually found out. Turns out one of those people was a journalist trying to create controversey so his own article on Anita being harrassed would get more attention simpy by being first out of the door. The full story of this can be read here. The article details suspicions people had and the trail followed which leads to a Brazillain Journalist at what appears to be a very clickbait centric site. The information on the individual has alledgedly been passed onto the authorities. 

Hopefully my next C-blog can be about something more interesting. I'm writing this simply to save me responding to all the comments in the original article with the same information. Hopefully also killing the demand for a backlash. At some point people are going to have to sit down and talk even if it takes until the Society of Professional Journalists debates set to be held later this year.

There that's it done.



5:37 PM on 06.17.2015

Polygon, you're part of the problem

Oh there's nothing as good as getting to lay into Polygon. I've seen some people defending Polygon's piece about gaming's race problem as well as claiming it's a way of starting the discussion. Which I would say had some weight, if Polygon were practicing what they preached. I mean Polygon is an outlet  with 18 full time staff. 15 of them are white. Such great diversity on show there. Oh well at least they recently covered a newly released (on steam at least) indie game based on Indian mythology and based on the ideas and traditions of India.


Wait a moment, they actually didn't cover it. You know what though, that's unfair to lay all the blame at the feet of Polygon , you see they weren't the only one who decided to take a few shots at Witcher 3.


Now surely Anita who cares so much about feminism would have talked about a game released fairly recently on Steam (and available before that) which deals with ideas such as forced marriage and systematic oppression right? Nope, not at all, and nor is it on her Steam Curator list. You'd think a game featuring the story of a girl trying to escape an arranged marriage would be quite a high priority right? But it seems not.

How progressives they are, provided as they were with a perfect chance to introduce the world to an indie game not based on "White Culture" and they entirely ignored it. Many other sites reviewed it long before it's April Steam release. The best I could find on it was on Rock Paper Shotgun. I have got a review of Unrest coming but being E3 and everything I thought it best to leave it a little bit till the hype dies down and it can have a fair shot at being noticed (Maybe next week for the review on my other blog). You know how I found out about unrest? a twitter hashtag called #Gamesmatter (not to be confused with other hashtags). The idea of it is to help promote lesser known titles via word of mouth and social media. The games that are given out on #Gamesmatter aren't always the best, there's no guarantee of quality but they're there to help developers get honest feedback and create at least some extra social media attention. #Gamesmatter in the past also gave out copies of Unearthed Trail of Ibn Battuta which the developer gave codes for and #Gamesmatter distributed. Now Unrest is a very political game, I mean it's a very cutting political commentary on aspects still present in some parts of Indian culture.

So I have to say this to Polygon and others, what you're doing is cultural imperialism plain and simple. You're asking a Polish developer to conform to the cultural norms you expect as though your culture is universal and that because the game is global that there's some kind of white global monoculture it belongs to.



Just incase anyone doesn't know that last one is a UK thing mostly called bonfire night where we remember Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the houses of parliament. A deed which while it failed made the upper class and monarchy of the UK realise that they needed to do more for the people.

But but they have a Djin in Witcher 3 that's not part of polish Mythology.

 To which I answer yes, but there are untold numbers of various cultures monsters in the series Supernatural. Yet TV critics aren't yelling from the rooftops about the lack of black lead characters (if you've watched Supernatural you'll know what I mean) and that's a distinctly American show.

Rather than showcase games from other cultures and developers Polygon and others have chosen to find a proven developer and start demanding they make the game that they want. You want to call Meteroid fans entitled babies for petitioning Nintendo to make an actual Meteroid game not a spin off? Then Polygon are severely entitled babies trying to use their influence to bully and intimidate developers by trying to place the entire onus of change onto them. If you want to talk about industry problems and lack of diversity then doing so on a micro scale of the Witcher 3 is disingenuous. It's even worse considering the position Polygon and others are in to help promote just the kind of diverse games they wants. Yet they refused to do so. Unearthed Trail of Ibn Battuta was widely considered a bad game yet Polygon's entire coverage amounts to announcing it was released, no review nothing else. With Unrest they didn't even cover it.


Oh but Unrest clearly isn't something that political or "progressive" hence they never covered it

 Which if anyone was thinking, that then it's clear you've not played it. In my playthrough, during one of the stories I ended up getting a 15 year old girl executed for trying to escape from her arranged marriage. But as I've seen before with certain self proclaimed "progressives" that would count as cultural imperialism because it's not for us to dictate what other cultures should do, and I've also seen the same people say such a thing in relation to stopping FGM. You know actual harm being done to actual people not Micro-aggressional oppression (as they yell in peoples faces). CD-project Red are from a non traditional games developing country, they're not part of central Europe, Japan, America or South Korea.

 The seeming problem is that Polygon don't seem to understand the idea of growing an industry and supporting developers with attention to help the games they want get made. Rather than say promote an Indian development studio based in Jaipur (part of India) Polygon chose to pressure CD-Project red to be the change. The idea that only pre-existing studios should be responsible for this is quite frankly part of the problem. By not giving a platform and showing the work of other developers' you don't get the diverse range of cultures and experiences on offer, with people native to those cultures able to share them. Polygon are asking CD-project Red to write about something they likely have little inherent knowledge of (and would more than likely be attacked for not doing the job absolutely perfectly or even claims of cultural imperalism thrown at them or taking the jobs of possible native members of those cultures). I'm not saying Unrest is some perfect game (It crashed on me 3 times when starting the game first time) I'm saying it should have at least had some attention from a self styled "progressive" site.  It says something against Polygon and others when youtbe Lets Player Jesse Cox has done more to cover it than them. Then again what was I expected, it's Polygon they only count something as worth-while and progressive if it was made by a white pink haired trust funded hipster because for whatever reason those are the only people seemingly allowed to have anything deep in games. Or at least so far that's what many Social Justice warriors are proving by attacking the new Deus Ex and the idea of a "mechanical aparthied"



Oh and that last tweet attacking a developer. That's the now ex community manager for Mighty No.9 doing it. Gee I can't possibly imagine people would have done that to CD-project Red if they'd dared to do something not part of the white mono culture they think the world shares ./sarcasm

What Polygon did, seemingly, was a huge click bait piece and in doing so me and others have no doubt looked deeper into their progressive claims and seen just how hollow they are. They're not trying to promote developers making the kind of thing they want. They're not trying to promote more diversity and ideas they're going after big developers for easy money and if, and this is a big if, they actually do care for being "progressive". Then their methodology is to try and pressure existing developers to fall in line with what they want. Polygon are seemingly trying to force their views and cultural ideals onto developers.  Trying to act as a moral authority that developers must obey and what games must be because according to Polygon "All video games are stupid, of course".

 If you want to claim it's not diversity to see the Witcher 3 as such a success, you could say the same for the Ukranian developers of Metro Last Light. Is it wrong for them to tell their tale just because it's more white people? Yet if you look into 4A games you'll find people who fought rolling power cuts, they fought against having to deal with armed gangs telling them to leave their offices and not return or they'd be killed. They had to deal with a corrupt government trying to take over their work and had to have people smugglers smuggle them out of their own country to be able to release the games. Are we to say their story should be changed because of diversity after they fought so long to have it told? The inherent argument is that because things are unequal therefore the cultural prescedent behind things doesn't matter they must pay kind of price, have some kind of justice extracted on them. So by the same argument Martial arts films need more white guys right? What it's the same argument martial ats films have and are a cultural product of China and Japan the majority feature a fully asian cast. That's where the argument breaks down and shows itself as cultural imperalism as it's clearly a cultural product and not some mass appeal product desiged to be as bland as possibe to avoid alienating anyone. It's telling that Polygon and others are wailing about Witcher 3 yet whiter than white film series Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit aren't seeing major film websites yelling about how they should have been changed to include a black characters.

If Polygon truly wanted more diversity and actual change they'd be promoting the work of other developers, not just the "Indie Elitists" or "Hipster Clique", but actual indie developers just starting out who could in the future be the next succes story like CD-project Red. To us Unearthed may seem like a pile of rubbish but for some places that's the closest to AAA development they have. The technology, the experience and the funding and investment isn't there yet for games, hence they do what they can and  struggle to compete with what we'd consider AAA games in many cases. Without coverage there are no sales without sales then these studios from non traditional video game making countries can't develop and advance their craft or get the money and investment to do so. What's more I'm not a paid video game journalist (thought it worth reminding people) I'm not claiming to be some great progressive and advancing the industry. I tend to look into and show off interesting indie titles every now and again and ramble about nonsense "hot" topics in gaming. I'm sure out there are far more developers from far more countries and cultures all of which Polygon and others are happy to ignore while claiming to be all for diversity.

The self proclaimed champions of diversity out there had a chance to prove themselves. An amazing chance to practice what they preach and show the world. They chose not to.


6:45 PM on 06.13.2015

Critical Floor: Mad Max Fury Road

Well it's the weekend so I figured you'd want something quite light and entertaining instead of some of my more heavy pieces. Hopefully you'll indulge me one again as I splurge about Mad Max Fury Road. Havng got the obligatory discussion of the feminist symbolism and ideas out the way previously I can actually attempt to talk about some of the aspects of the film.

Now these are my views and ideas and the evidence I believe supports them and as will all pieces of media it's my interpretation of aspects of the film and themes of it. Basically what I'm saying may be in truth way off the mark bullshit or absolutely spot on about parts of the film.

So let's start with the society of the Warboys tribe and some of the incredibly messed up stuff there which the film only hints at. So let's get the super messed up thing out the way first. The Warboys as a tribe are infact all the sons of Immoten Joe. We know from earlier in the film Immoten "Warfather" Joe has a large harem of "wives". We also know because of discussions between characters that Joe was trying to get an heir to take over the tribe that didn't suffer from genetic problms. The film shows both his main sons each with their own genetic afflictions however we also know the Warboys suffer a shared genetic affliction too, this explains the need for Mad Max as a Bloodbag to help top up the Warboys. The idea that all the Warboys share an affliction is compounded when one of the brides mentions that the warboys don't live a life they live a half life. The whole idea of the tribe is one of seeing approval from the father figure literally calling him "Warfather" and as such doing acts to try and impress or gain his approval (and get to Valhalla). If we take this theme as right it would also mean the entire subplot involving one of the warboys takes on a far different meaning as it shows him learning to break free from the need for his fathers constant approval of his actions.


Ok so the idea of valhalla previously mentioned nicely transitions into talking about the Aestehtic of the warboys, their society and how their society shows humanity still trying to cling to the last bits of a long gone past age. You see the Warboys "religion" for lack of a better word is that by dying doing an act of bravery (or suicidal stupidity to give term) which benefits the rest of the tribe they will go to Valhalla the Norse heaven as such.  Generally before doing such an act they call for someone to witness them (to help spread their tale) and they spray their mouth and teeth with chrome spray paint. Obviously spraying your mouth and teeth with chrome spray paint is not part of Norse mythology yet with the Warboys part of the Valhalla idea is it's the heaven linked to chrome. This makes little sense until you look deeper at some of the vehicles they drive and parts of their fleet. It also explains perfectly why part of their army is a guy with a guitar that shoots fire who play them into battle.



The Warboys idea of Valhalla is taken directly from the hazy memories of Rock and Roll and heavy metal music. No really have a look at some of these Rock and Metal album covers.



Yes that car n the ZZ top cover does look remarkably live the kind of Hot Rod's seen in amongst the Warboys vehicles. 

So I know what you're thinking, it's bonkers right, I mean people creating confused interpretations of things in the past. It sounds insane, until you realise the film actually told you people are messing up idea of the past already. At one point two of the other characters, one of the "wives" and one of the elder women, are talking while looking up at the nights sky, the younger woman spots a shooting star and the older says it must be a satellite. The older woman then goes on to explain that satellites were from the worlds past and would bounce messages all round the world. A second older woman then interjects and says not messages they bounced shows round the world and everyone used to have a show. This scene illustrates how ideas and concepts we take for granted now could be interpreted far differently as the knoweldge of them fades away. We know that Satelites both bounce messages and shows around but we know that messages are not shows. The idea of everyone having their own show could easily be referring to none other than things like youtube. incase you're not entirely convinced Historians have found evidence of such things happening in the past as the goddess Neith suddenly became the goddess of Weaving along with her other roles. Historians theorised that people just started to accept that what she was despite no indications of it prior to a certain point.  So it's entirely plausible to suggest that the Warboys society and even almost religion is based round half remembered Heavy Metal & Rock Album covers which would explain the combination of chrome and Valhalla as both are regular features of Rock and Metal Album covers.


9:03 PM on 06.10.2015

The Pre-E3 predictions blog

So E3 is coming up soon, it's a tradition seemingly in the gaming press to make predictions about what we're going to see at E3. Now it's one of my long standing traditions here in the C-Blogs to make really stupid predictions deliberately so and try to justify them. So yeh, I feel like doing a stupid E3 blog.

 Prediction 1. Anita Sarkeesian will not be happy

Ok this is an obvious one especially after last year but it's almost certain it will happen again this year. It's not a hard prediction to make but I wanted to make at least one that had a chance of coming true.


Prediction 2. Fallout 4 isn't the full title of the game, the Bethesda announcement will be that it's fallout 4 generations. Part of the gameplay will mean you can settle down and have a family and pass on the mantle of the lone wanderer to the next generation.

My "evidence" to support this prediction is the style of the trailer for Fallout showing a family laying down their child to sleep as the radio then announces the bombs are coming. It seemed a strange shot to have and being in engine it would seem weird for the baby model and animations to be assets just for a small part of the game.

 Prediction 3: one of Microsoft's Indie games shown off will be a side scrolling beat-em up called Raging Justice.

Evidence: Having spoken to the developer a while ago now and done a bit of a preview piece on the game. Well it's due out sometime soon so it would make sense for Microsoft to show it off with other indie games. Then again this is Microsoft so who knows if they'll manage to do something that sensible.

 Prediction 4: Reggie Fils-Aimé will end up on the Nintendo Direct dressed in an ill fitting Link costume. This will then spark claims on Polygon and Kotaku that Nintendo are Racist because they haven't made link black yet

Evidence: Well um, We haven't heard that much about the new Legend of Zelda on Wii U yet and Reggie is a legend.

 Prediction 5: Valve aren't going to appear at the PC gaming conference because they'll appear at the Sony conference.

Evidence: Well Valve are not scheduled to be at the PC Gamer organised conference which means either A Valve object to PC Gamer (possible)

 Or B Valve are already set to appear at E3 doing something else.

It sounds bonkers but with all that's been rolled out recently and Valve having previously released Portal 2 as crossplay on PS4 it's possible there may be more titles coming or even Valve allowing crossplay to be added to existing games. 

 Prediction 6: Kotaku will write shit about how terrible Ubisoft are and how Ubisoft tried to censor Kotaku writers

Evidence: It's Kotaku, Ubisoft not inviting them will most likely cause the whiny pieces of smeg to try and claim that Ubisoft was trying to censor them (when in reality they can still write it's just they're not getting the free gifts & or Food given out at some of the conferences). Kotaku will almost certainly have to try and throw their weight around like some petulant child over this in the hopes that they can pressure Ubisoft into thinking Kotaku is still Relevant to gaming.


 Prediction 7: Sony will reveal footage of the Timesplitters remake

 Evidence: It's being made and info seems to regularly pop up about it on the PS4 subreddit.


Prediction 8: Lizard Squad will DDOS at least 3 of the event livestreams

 Reasoning: They're asshole and seemingly love to fuck with gaming because they seem to have a grudge against it (I'm guessing they were hardcore Jack Thompson fans or something back in the day) So yeh no doubt they'll try their damndest to annoy people.

 Prediction 9:  There will be a streaker during a conference

Reasoning: Well it has to happen one year or another

 Prediction 10: After many years of secrecy EA will wheel out a Polybius cabinet onto the E3 stage. The back will open up and inside will be a developer. The developer will then get up and announce that he is the one who made Polybius and the entire thing was a practical joke he and the now heads of EA started in their college days.

Reasoning: Well EA have got to do something that's both amazing and weird to get people's attention. At least while they gut another few studios they've acquired recently.


Prediction 11: Dudebro 2: my shit is fucked up so I gotta shoot / slice you. It's Straight up Dawg Time. Will finally get a release date 

Reasoning, it's been in development for years it's gotta happen sometime.

Oh and for those who want it I've made some E3 Bingo cards if you want to play E3 Bingo with other people while watching E3 conferences.


4:12 PM on 06.08.2015

How a load of Hustlers are making bank on Valves refund policy.

So this article started life after I saw a developer complaining about refunds, this would have been fine because as I'll go on to explain. Now I would be giving the developer a plug here, except the developer chose to be an arsehole to some customers and when I suggested there may be more of a reason behind the refunds I was promptly blocked.  The developer has now chosen to protect their tweets as they throw a melt down.

Such a shame really as it was someone who'd climbed out of the XBLIG slime pits, so I do generally like to support them. If they'd waited they might have found out that I was suggesting their games had become a victim of a bunch hustlers playing Steams systems for profit.

The reality of the situation is that while amazing for consumers really, Valve putting in  refund policy means people can and will exploit it. So being the kind of person who watches way too many con shows and having a fairly devious mind I've thought up a horrible scam people could do on Steam or more correctly probabaly are already doing it and I'm not the first to think it up. Now just to be clear I have NOT done any of the following things (nor should you), these are only theoretical but if I've thought of them, you can bet others have too. Oh and don't worry, I've emailed Valve about these possible scams already so if you were thinking of trying them, you'll probably be caught now.

 The problem with the refund system stems from certain indie games. These indie games meet two criteria. First they are above the price point to activate a Steam account (as to get full features there's now a minimum spend on Steam ironically to cut down on scammers). Secondly the indie games in question must have 5 - 6 trading cards needed to craft the game badge. The price point and the badge requirements combined are the requirements for this con trick to work. The reason it works is with games that have 5-6 trading cards there's normally a certain amount you don't get, thus forcing you to trade or use the marketplace. Here are two such indie games.


It's worth nothing neither of these games are those of any developer who has had a meltdown over steam refunds, just to be clear. Now due to gaining extra features by levelling up your steam account badges became a valuable thing, and as all badges give a base 100EXP it doesn't matter if the game has 5 cards or 25 the badge value is the same. So many people (and I'm sure many shrewd indie developers too) realise that it's far easier to collect all the cards for a game that needs less cards. Thus said games become more desirable and can fetch a higher price from those trying to quickly and easily level up their steam accounts.

 So I know what you're thinking, how does any of this lead to a con. Well this is how the con works, laid bare for you. The Hustler makes a new Steam account, they buy a game over the thresh hold  price to activate their account, they set up family share, they run the game for the 1 hour 30 minutes required to get the 3 card drops. They repeat this on other family shared accounts meaning they have up to 15 cards. They then apply for a refund, having only played just over 1 hour 30 minutes on their main account Steam issues a refund. With the other accounts activated similarly with other games they then trade the cards to a singular account and place the mass of cards on the marketplace. It seems weird, stupid and petty right I mean the Steam Trading cards have so little value normally, except those on games with only 5-6 cards total where their cards often cost double that of any other game. So in theory on 1 single refunded game a Hustler can bank about £1 in total. Not bad for absolutely nothing.


Now I know what people are thinking £1, really someone would go to all that trouble for £1 free, well that's the thing, previously people were going to a fair bit of trouble to for DOTA 2 items which were £0.50 and took up to 5 hours to get. Valve had to act to disabled selling and even trading DOTA 2 items acquired from drops due to people item farming like this (and also in a large part due to scammers clearing out peoples DOTA 2 items). However to protect the market from plummeting items prices Valve made it so most drops in DOTA 2 can't be sold. The thing to consider are these items farmers are still out there and with Valves new refund policy it's entirely possible they've turned their hand from item farming in DOTA 2 to card farming in indie games. What people may not realise is in some other countries  due to different economies etc. Selling items like this and setting up a way to do in on a larger scale pays out quite well in peoples native currency, well enough for this to not only be viable for them but actually very profitable. Consider this a person with a computer running say 5 games at once to card farm, now imagine someone doing this on a bigger scale with say 5 machines each running 5 games. Suddenly that's nearly £5 per one and an a half hours. It's not hard to see how this could easily be exploited.

So in a way, some indie developers might have ended up becoming their own worst nightmare as card with less card drops it means Hustlers can clean out their game of free stuff within the 2 hour period and their cards drops are more desirable as well thanks to Steams systems. So through the new refund policy and previous things indie developers have done to help drive sales. They've not only become the target of those looking for an easy Steam level boost but of those who wish to play and exploit Steams market for some easy money. You want to know the even more shocking thing ? All the developers who have spoken out against refunds or said about the harm they do have games with 5-6 trading cards, 3 drops in the game (so 1 hour 30 of game time needed) and are at a price point about the equivalent of $5 and it's these developers now talking about how they're seeing in some cases a 53% refund rate on their games.

Lets be clear here though I'm not condemning refunds, it's about time Valve did something like this, it's good of them (even if their arm was forced a bit) but in the coming days / weeks / months there will no doubt be more developers talking about high returns etc and while some people might think it's because all these games are under. So to developers out there. Reunds, they're good for consumers, and if you're thinking of putting your game on Steam, at least for the time being maybe consider making sure your game takes more than 2 hours to get all the cards drops.


12:06 PM on 06.06.2015

The problem with politics.


"If you didn't go and watch American Sniper you hate our Veterans and shouldn't live in this country anymore."

Honestly that's just the kind of sentiment I've been seeing about (Luckily I don't live in America so yeh, I don't have to deal with people telling me to fuck off).

Hell you think I'm joking here ? Sarah Palin went on a rant about this. (It's only a couple of minutes and the video is at the right area)

It's fucking stupid, from what I hear American Sniper is quite a bland film that doesn't rock the boat or do any moral grandstanding (mainly cause apparently Clint Eastwood as a director is known for making quite bland films).

Oh and I know a few people reading this are going "Nice one stick it to the right wing nutters" no doubt. Except the left wing has it's own nutters now seemingly as I saw on a few sites people proclaiming "If you don't go and see Selma that makes you a racist". I wish this were some kind of joke but this came to a huge head at a recent holiday where the American political far left were pushing for everyone to watch Selma and the Political far right were pushing people to go see American Sniper. That's right, people were pushing others to make film choices based on politics over personal choice, anyone who refused to see them was being shamed either called an Unpatriotic person who hates Veterans and should just leave America, or you were a Racist monster supporting the white supremacist Hollywood patriarchy. I'm so glad I don't live in the US as the way everything is becoming part of a political battleground is getting stupid, the problem is this is spilling over into wider hobbies and sub cultures.

You know what doesn't help the case that the left isn't trying to undertake some huge culture war to force everyone who doesn't share their views out? Maybe writing an entry on your own site about how you're winning the culture war. For those who don't know Ms Laurie Penny you might find this an interesting introduction.

Hell if you're going to say now "OMG you only talk about her because she's female you mysogynist" I and in fact anyone else could turn round and claim the same about any negative thing said about say Margaret Thatcher or the far far more right wing Sarah Palin.

There seems to be a huge push at present to make everything political, that politics should be the be all and end all of our lives. To an extent I can see where people are coming from with the "Everything is about politics" argument here's the thing though, while you can relate everything to politics or a political connection it doesn't always have to be the main thing discussed. The everything is about politics spin has got so bad this happened on the Facebook page of someone I know.

You think this is a one off thing but I'm seeing people claim they can't watch Firefly because Adam Baldwin doesn't share their political views. I've recently seen people claim they can't fap to porn because they heard a rumour that said pornstar doesn't follow the persons exact line of politics. I'm seeing people claim they'd never be in a relationship with someone who doesn't support everything socio politically that they do, and to the lengths they do. I honestly think it must be a US thing with the two party system causing quite literally an US or Them mentality and seeing it happen is baffling to me (and quite how long till you manage another civil war at this rate can't be that far off).

To this mentality you can add the medium of video games which has for a long while strived to be seen and mature and plenty of people from what some consider "The lost generation" being told by the media they need to grow up and start taking things seriously. One of the things often seen as mature and serious is politics. Add to this some people who like to pretend they're super serious real journalists and intellectual critics yet possessing performing arts degrees and never having studied any kind of actual real journalism and you've got a problem.  In reality politics is often far from the most important thing ever and while important to know of it's also important to keep it in perspective and not make everything some great political battleground. There is more to life than politics. The people who truly benefit most from politics are politicians who get paid to do this and their job is a hell of a lot easier with you campaigning and doing some of the work for them.

I'd like you to say hi to a Mr Jon Stone a professional journalist from The Guardian whom I recently had a nice old argument with on Twitter. That's right this is not some random twitter nut this is an actual paid journalist at a major news group here in the UK. Yes he is claiming that the game Watchdogs about a hacker who ends up tangled in and fighting against a company with a big brother esc network surveillance system is a conservative game. I'm guessing he thinks this because (and this is just speculation here) he took Animal Farm and 1984 not as a dystopian fiction warning of dangers but as a really cool vision for a future he'd like to live in.

The great bit of comedy being that as politics keeps changing eventually people forget about the politics of the time to an extent and relate the art to the culture at the time and it's cultural relevance. You can see how far it's changed as it's now the "progressives" talking about the dangers and how horrible these violent games are and how bad for gaming and society etc. Very much like Mary Whitehouse did with violent films in the past.

It's quite funny watching recently as people on Tumblr passed round a thing about how the UK government were going to scrap the human rights act. Which is quite funny and shows how much many in the Social Justice Warrior community know about the UK, you see we don't have one as such. I'm not joking the UK subscribes to the EU Human rights act and the basic human rights etc are respected but not written as a constitution like in the US. The closest to a constitution we have in the UK is the Magna Carta and the rights it grants are the right to a trial by your peers and the right to own land, that's it. Funnier still all those campaigning against the UK writing its own constitution and not carrying on with Europe's probably didn't realise we have an in out referendum on the EU coming soon so without our own Human rights act we're going to have none in any way close to relevant if the UK leaves the EU.

 Forcing things to be political and always political is exclusionary in itself. To the extent it's being done you could even say it's exclusionary to anyone who doesn't share those exact views. Even more so it's exclusionary to anyone not dealing with the same political system, so a lot of the politicial discussion centres on American politics. How weird are American Politics? Well in the US Obama and the democrat policies centred on reducing the national deficit while the republican party were on about spending out of debt and not making cuts. In the UK the Labour party campaigned on policies of making no cuts and increasing spending to get the country out of debt and the Conservatives campaigned on policies of reducing spending to reduce the countries deficit. It was the conservative lead coalition government here in the UK that legalised gay marriage (after Labout had been in for 12 years). Let that sink in for a moment about how different politics are in different countries.

It was almost comical to see the discussions etc surrounding Battlefield Hardline and some journalists seemingly lamenting the fact it wasn't a harsh political statement upon the state and nature of American policing. The idea that everything must somehow be some great political statement now seems just insane, hell you could now argue Romeo and Juliet is a literal indictment of the harm done by a bi-partisan system and a "with or us against us" mentality. It's funny because people are meant to be games journalists and critics, yet so many want to talk politics and so few seemingly want to talk about other things such and other themes and concepts in narrative works. If something agrees with your politics or not is easy low hanging fruit. If some people want to be seen as grand intellectual games critics maybe it's time to you know actually move beyond the very simple stuff of talking politics and actually try to analyse a work without the political lens. Maybe it's time for said critics to understand that just because it doesn't agree with your politics it doesn't make the media itself inherently bad.

 So do you want to talk politics some more? If you answered yes, have I got some fun blogs coming for you.

Well people say it's good to go out on a song, so you know what have a song that went viral here in the UK 



1:28 AM on 06.05.2015

Is the future of VR gaming in your pocket right now ?

So VR eh, the biggest latest gimmick to come to video games hot on the heels of the near death of motion controlled games. With the Oculus Rift expected to cost $150 - $200 allegedly and having already noted my experience with an early build I've got to say I'm dubious. Then there is Steam VR which it's been suggested might require a full room dedicated to it to really use it well.

 So I thought it was the perfect time to look at VR technology again and as well as talk about my latest experience with VR I get to talk about some VR tech I tried but never did mention a few years ago.

So first I'd like to introduce you to the Igloo.    


So the Igloo is a large dome structure, inside it contains multiple projectors, tower units and technology to track the position of the player and direction they're facing (this is done at least in the demo version by tracking a physical item in this case a gun which is also the controller. So here's a really terrible video filmed on a 3Mega pixel camera in near pitch black. You might notice the shadowy figure standing up moving round an they're actually controlling the game using a gun shaped controller with motion tracking. I was recording this video basically on the floor at the back of the dome trying to hide out of the way.


Now the Igloo is a rather expensive setup but rather impressive. I did talk to the developers (a number of years ago now) and they stated their main goal as such in terms of the technology being public was to try and get the thing in arcades as a sort of premium attraction. Obviously this is not going to be household technology (then again if Vale's VR needs a full room maybe this could be possible). From what I saw it looked good with the idea of moving in the dome changing where the image was projected.

 Now I've previously talked about my experience with an early version of the Oculus Rift. Suffice to say I didn't get on well.

This year however I got to try another kind of VR device and one which honestly has wowed me because of how well it worked and the distinct lack of motion sickness that came from it. Unlike all other devices so far this uses technology most people already posses and the cost of the unit to utilise this (in the case of the one I tried) was £20 (About $35) you can get other cheaper or more expensive versions but all do roughly the same.

All of them are a holder for a smartphone with the cheapest known one being the Google Cardboard clocking in at the cost of cardboard and printing the templates out pretty much (no really you can download the instructions etc from google). I was rather impressed with the VR experience and the headset as I said in my full piece on it on my other blog.

So you might be wondering how any of this relates to the blog title as I've rambled on quite a bit (which if this were Polygon and the Rockband 4 preview is seemingly the qualities a senior editor would have but this is not Polygon so I need to get to the point). The point being large and expensive pieces of tech tend to be very much a gimmick that often dies out, I mean just look at the death of the Kinect despite for over a year everyone with an Xbox One having one included. So it seems very likely that VR / 3D could be a fad that dies out fast, and it seems unlikely that we'll all be playing "The World" anytime soon. That is unless you consider a number of things that have been happening in gaming recently.

A number of companies have been working on streaming technology or mobile integration. Sony's PS4 can stream to other TVs via the playstation TV / Vita (or via the streaming app to smartphones and other devices). Microsoft were very big on pushing Smartglass and mobile phone integration. Nintendo made it so you can use the Wii U gamepad as the main screen for some games instead of needing the TV. Nintendo has also fairly recently announced their partnership with a mobile phone game maker DeNA as well. All of this so far screams to me that companies are to an extent hedging their bets and testing out a number of systems a piece of technology which could have more applications down the line.

Just think about it for a moment while not quite as responsive as the Oculus (input lag etc) it would be entirely possible to stream the gameplay footage to a smartphone or such device. A smartphone or such device which most people own, even someone like me who admittedly hates carrying a mobile phone. With the wide availability of smart devices and a companies already offering film streaming to phones, why not have game streaming to use them as 3D / VR headset screens? It makes a lot of sense when the cost of a decent headset to hold a device is about $30 compared to the $150 - $200 it's suggested many of the VR headsets in development may end up costing when released. It would be kind of insane for companies to not be considering this considering the investment and cost of motion controlled gaming which promptly vanished after the boom of the Wii was done. Also using a smartphone has one huge advantage so far over all other proposed VR devices (Except I believe Valve's own) a lack of wires needing to be attached.

So rather than the Oculus Rift, the Morepheous or Valve's VR Lighthouse system HTC Steam VR thing, I'd say the future of VR gaming might well have the very phone in our pocket playing a big part in it.


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